Date Category
9th March 2021 Blog

In 2020, the HEPA Responsible Procurement Group Sustainable Packaging and Deliveries Subgroup developed a plan to develop resources and activities to support Consortia and Procurement staff in universities to reduce packaging, increase recycled content and reduce deliveries which would also help with reducing carbon emissions.

Responsible Procurement Commodity Coding Risk Analysis

The Sustainability Risk Analysis by PROC-HE 2 has been updated to include columns for packaging, specifically plastics, cardboard and polystyrene as well as identifying where the supplier may be liable for reporting volumes as part of the Packaging Waste: Producer Responsibilities. This is a great tool for use when developing a sourcing or procurement plan prior to tendering in order to identify whether there is the potential for universities to reduce, recycle, reuse or eliminate packaging through the life of the contract or simply to identify where questions on the sustainability credentials of packaging might form part of the tender evaluation criteria. You can download the tool below.

Plastics Pact Target

The UK Government has announced that from April 2022, the Plastics Packaging Tax will be introduced with a £200 per tonne tax rate for packaging with less than 30% recycled plastic. The HEPA Sustainable Packaging Group suggest that Universities might consider encouraging suppliers to adopt WRAP’s UK Plastic Pact targets which are:

  1. Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery model.
  2. 100% of plastics packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
  3. 70% of plastics packaging effectively recycled or composted.
  4. 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging. 

There has also been much focus on single-use plastics which should be eliminated wherever possible and replaced with multi-use, recycled content or plant-based alternatives, but the use of any material that is either excessive in terms of volume or has to go through recycling and re-manufacture processes in order to be reused is also quite wasteful.

Can you encourage suppliers to reduce the volume of packaging supplied with its products without compromising the integrity of its products whilst being stored and during delivery? Can the supplier develop permanent or reusable packaging and collect for reuse? If these alternatives are not possible, packaging should be from a sustainable source and fully recyclable or have a high recycled content.

Sustainable Packaging and Deliveries Group: Future Plans

Some of the future actions for the Sustainable Packaging and Deliveries group are to develop packaging specification guidance for procurement staff and also develop template evaluation criteria, model answers and suggested packaging KPI’s.

Whilst the group will undertake research to develop these tools, if anyone has any relevant content or useful links, please send them to Debbie Shore who will collate and share them with the group.